Lung Transplant Surgery

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Please call the Transplant Institute at 210-567-5777 for more information.

Lung Transplant Surgery

Get a second chance at life when an expert surgeon at University Health Transplant Institute performs a single- or double-lung transplant for you. Look forward to a better quality of life and a return to everyday activities.

Experienced Transplant Team

Trust our experienced, board-certified transplant doctors and surgeons to give you the best possible care. You’ll benefit from our team’s high-quality care, medical expertise and surgical excellence.

Before Transplantation

You may need a lung transplant if you have a severe lung problem that does not improve with other treatments. To determine if you’ll benefit from a lung transplant, your assessment process at University Health will include:

When a Donor Lung Is Available

When you have a donor lung match, you’ll receive a call from your transplant coordinator. Come to University Health immediately and report to the transplant unit. Bring your prepacked bag, medications and health insurance information. Please do not eat or drink after we call you. Your nursing team will walk you through the entire process – from getting the call to arriving at the hospital.

Transplant Surgery Preparation

Expect a transplant doctor to start tests to make sure you are ready for surgery. You’ll have:

  • Blood draw
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Physical exam

Canceling your transplant surgery may be necessary if:

  • The donor's lung is not suitable for transplant
  • You have a new medical problem
  • You have any signs of infection
  • You test positive for alcohol or drugs

Informed Consent

You have the right to decide whether to have a transplant. Your doctor will ask you to sign an informed consent form before your transplant surgery.

Types of Lung Transplants

Your transplant surgeon will decide on your tailored treatment plan based on your condition and medical history. You may have:

  • Double-lung transplant (also known as bilateral) – Uses a “clam shell” incision in the middle of your chest to remove both diseased lungs and replace them with donor lungs
  • Single-lung transplant – Uses an incision on the right or left side of your chest to replace one diseased lung with a donor lung

Specialized Lung Transplant Surgery

Expect surgery to last three to four hours for a single-lung transplant and four to eight hours for a double-lung transplant. A doctor will give you medication to make you sleep during the operation.

Your surgery will begin when the donor lung(s) arrives in the operating room. Your surgeon will:

  • Remove your lung(s)
  • Place the donor lung(s) in your chest
  • Connect your new lung(s) to your blood vessels (pulmonary artery and pulmonary vein) and your airway


After your transplant, your surgeon will talk to your family or caregiver about the surgery while you recover in the transplant intensive care unit.

Count on patient-centered care from a dedicated care team who will support you and your family’s needs during your recovery.

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